Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NYCFIRST Update 8: Registration May Close Early

August 29, 2007

A newsletter for the NYCFIRST robotics community in New York City and the surrounding area. If you want to be removed from this list type “remove” in the subject are and hit return. If you get doubles of this email let me know.

Compiled by Norm Scott
NYCFIRST Registration coordinator

The NYC gang in Manchester, June 2007
Left to right: Wayne Penn, Laura Allen, Evan Weinberg, Gary Israel, Mike Siegel, Norm Scott, Mark Sharfshteyn

These updates are posted at Norm’s Robotics blog:

See the entire list of registered teams (115) sorted by boroughs below.
A spreadsheet with the list of all teams will be posted on Google soon.
Check my blog for the link.

Make sure to go to the NYC/NJ FIRST Web site

CLICK ON THE RED IMPORTANT Link to read about our new policy regarding qualifying events in each borough that will enable 80 teams to go to the citywide ONE-DAY EVENT

Registration may be closed early
If you have any intention of competing this year, register ASAP. Once all field set-up kits are allocated, registration will be closed. This might happen within the next week or two.

Register at:

Payment: You do not have to pay when you register. Choose “pay by check” and work things out later.

When you register make sure to order the field set-up kit ($65) in addition to the $200 registration fee. That is an absolute requirement in order to get your team prepared.

I am available to assist you in any way.

Social Note:
A few of us went to see a play written by SI Tech coach and FLL Planning Committee member Mike Siegel’s daughter Debbie at the NYC Fringe Festival. Called “200 Mystical Fictions” it was a searing drama about the impact of 9/11. Brilliant piece of work and hopefully it will be produced again.

Important Dates

The Bronx FLL 2007 Power Puzzle Kickoff is being held at PS/MS 194 in the Bronx on September 8. Contact Gary Israel:

The Brooklyn FLL 2007 Power Puzzle Kickoff is tentatively scheduled for Saturday September 29 at Polytech U in downtown Brooklyn. Contact me for further info.

Both of these events will have workshops and presentations of the Power Puzzle with game boards set up. Open to teachers, parents and children.

New York City FIRST LEGO League
Borough Qualifying Tournaments:
Manhattan: December 2 (Sunday), Pace U. downtown
Brooklyn: December 8, 2007, Brooklyn Tech High School
Bronx: December 8, 2007, Lehman High School
Staten Island: December 15, 2007, Staten Island Tech High School
Queens: December 15, 2007, Aviation High School

New York City FIRST LEGO League Citywide Championship:
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Riverbank State Park, Manhattan

Contact Bob Woods for Sole Contract Letter:
-For schools using Purchase Orders and the DOE system to pay.
Spread the word. Until we are back on FAMIS all NYC Schools will have to get sole vendor letters from me to order LEGO ROBOTICS. Schools can order up to $15,000 with each sole vendor letter.

Our contract was split and now what is on software will be on the software contract and the Mindstorm Robotic sets will be on FAMIS under Hard goods. The contract for Hard Goods hopefully will be in place the end of August. It will have a different contract number. Lego software will still remain the same. In the meantime, Domion Pontrelli from the DOE told me that each school can order up to $15,000 per school with a sole vendor letter from me.



Please make a note of Bob’s contact info for future reference.

If you are receiving these updates on your accounts and do not check them regularly, please send me an alternative email where you can be reached.

Registration Total 115 as of Aug. 28

[Note: The formatting of the list of teams was lost in translation from the email. I'll post a link to the Google spreadsheet in the next day or 2.]

To our Friends at FIRST:

We would like to officially invite you to Ramp Riot 2007, our 8th Annual Robotics Competition. If you are in the Ambler, PA area on November 10th, be sure to visit. We would love to have you there. (pictures and event flyer attached)
Also please feel free to distribute the attached flyer to any intersted parties. An event description follows.

Alan Ostrow
Wissahickon HS Robotics

Event Description:
Ramp Riot 2007
8th Annual Regional Robotics Competition
November 10th
9 AM - 5PM
Wissahickon HS, Ambler, PA.
36 East Coast Teams battle it out in arena style competition!

Ramp Riot 2007 is a regional robotics competition that will attract 36 FRC teams and 16 FTC teams from seven states and approximately 2500 spectators. There will be live music, games, prizes and non-stop action all day long. Special appearance by radio station WMMR 93.3 FM.
We also raise money for Children's Hospital and over 1000 cans for the Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard during this event.
Its a guaranteed great time for all! Check us on the web at

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Bright Green FIRST Bag

I love the bright green bags I got from FIRST for volunteering in Atlanta and when I went up to Manchester and take one of them with me in my travels all around the city. At night cars can't miss seeing you - or improving their aim.

The bags are weightless and hold all my stuff. So this evening I stopped by one of those Mexican fast food places on Varrick St.and put my bag down on the counter while I ate. There were a bunch of high school kids at the next 2 counters and they were looking my way. Finally, one of them approached and said, "We noticed your bag. It's from FIRST." Turned out they were part of the Stuyvesant FIRST robotics team. They will be running the Manhattan tournament this December, hopefully at Pace in downtown Manhattan.

Running into some great kids - -another reason why I love my FIRST bag. And the FIRST dungaree jacket too - -can't wait 'till it gets cold enough for me to wear it. Thanks again Nancy and Elisha.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

2007 NYC FIRST LEGO League Announcement

Another great year for New York City FIRST LEGO League is well underway! Registration has been open since April, and the number of FLL teams registered from NYC is running significantly ahead of what it was last year at this time. The Big Apple has a real case of FLL Fever!!!

Over the past six years, New York City FIRST LEGO League has grown tremendously. In 2001, in partnership with Polytechnic University, we started with a citywide event including 25 teams packed into a gym at New York City College of Technology. Last year we had our largest season ever with 191 teams from across the City registered to be part of the 2006-07 FLL Nano Quest Challenge.

With success come new challenges. One of the challenges we face is how to accommodate all the NYC FLL teams that want to participate. Many of you will recall that a few years ago we instituted a second NYC FLL Championship Tournament at Riverbank State Park in order to accommodate the growing number of teams from the City. These two events gave us the capacity to accommodate up to 160 teams. Our projections indicate that we need to accommodate many more teams in the 2007-08 season. Therefore, we are instituting a number of significant changes in our tournament structure. Below are highlights of what we have planned:

Up to five qualifying tournaments will be held around the five boroughs during the month of December, 2007. Each qualifying tournament will include the same scoring and the full set of technical and research judging, robot competition, and other FLL awards as teams have experienced in the past at the NYC FLL
Championship Tournament. These qualifying tournaments will have the same level of engagement, excitement and high standards that teams experience at FLL tournaments worldwide.

• On average, each of the five qualifying tournaments will accommodate 50 NYC FLL teams, enabling the participation of 250 teams from across the City. As in years past, a small registration fee will be charged by the organizers of the qualifying tournaments to help pay for these events.

• There will be only a one-day New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship held at Riverbank State Park in January, 2008, instead of two. This tournament will accommodate up to 80 teams.

• In order to participate at the 2008 New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship, teams must qualify at one of the five qualifying tournaments. The criteria for qualification will be announced shortly.

• The Champions Award winner from the NYC FLL Championship will be eligible to receive an invitation for the FLL World Festival at the Georgia Dome based on criteria set by FIRST Lego League headquarters in Manchester, NH.

• In the event that our fundraising efforts fall short, it may be necessary to charge a registration fee for the NYC FLL Championship. We will do everything we can to avoid such a measure and will give teams as much advance notice as possible in the event that a fee has to be charged.

Our goal is to make a quality FLL experience possible for every team that registers. We appreciate all the enthusiasm and hard work that teams and their teachercoaches put into the experience. The NYC FLL Planning Committee, those wonderful volunteers who make FLL possible in the City, have thought long and hard about the best way to address the challenges brought about by the growing popularity of FLL.

For those of you out there who want to help grow FLL events across the City please step forward. Give us a hand to make the FIRST celebration possible for even more students and help our City’s kids prepare to face their futures with greater confidence, competence and ability.

If you would like to get involved, please let us know by sending an e-mail to

Mark Sharfshteyn, Chairperson
NYC FIRST LEGO League Planning Committee